Alice Paul – does this name sound familiar to you? If not, you are in a dire need to read “Mr. President, how long must we wait?” authored by journalist Tina Cassidy, a Northeastern University graduate. Alice Paul was an American suffragist, a women’s rights activist and a feminist. She was one of the main strategists and leaders of the campaign for the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits sex discrimination in the right to vote. Sadly, she now goes forgotten.
Alice was brought up on Quaker values which are based on racial and gender equality. As a young student, she had gone to England to study social justice. In England is where she met with the Pankhursts (Emmeline and Christabel), who were leading the movement in the United Kingdom to win voting rights for women. Alice was horrified by the way the audience treated them- the protestors, she saw people shouting and throwing things. Alice had never before seen people being treated horribly like this. She was so captivated by this moment that it changed her life forever. She joined the movement in the UK and learned everything and then she brought it back to America. When she started the movement for equal rights, the then president Woodrow Wilson didn’t pay much heed to the movement. Paul and her followers endured hunger strikes, imprisonment, and beatings before creating the public outcry that forced Wilson to see it their way.
It is necessary for us to know her story and the role of president Wilson and the influence of world war one on the right to vote for women. We as a society still have
a long way to go, but we should also see and appreciate the efforts of women before us and see how they have come to define our realities, today.